The Duration You Can Spend in Jail for Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a battery or an assault on a romantic partner, relative, or any member of your household. It is a severe criminal offense with possible fines, limited access to your kids or home, and jail time as possible repercussions.

Do not take domestic violence accusations lightly, as they can damage your reputation permanently and give you a criminal record, becoming an albatross over your future. 

This short piece explains how long you can stay in jail for a domestic violence conviction. 

Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence may entail an abuse of an individual you share a close relationship with. All states have their own specific descriptions of what constitutes domestic abuse. 

Generally, for abuse to qualify as domestic abuse, it must involve a relative or household member, including a spouse or ex-partner, children, in-laws within the household, parents, siblings, and couples with kids. 

There is a difference between violence with those in close relationships and strangers. Authorities punish domestic violence differently to discourage the act. 

A range of attitudes may constitute domestic assault criminal charges. They include sexual abuse, financial abuse, physical assault, cyberstalking or stalking, psychological or emotional abuse, and criminal threats of assault. 

Prosecutors can charge domestic violence crimes as misdemeanors or felonies. There are substantial differences between punishments for misdemeanor and felony convictions. 

A misdemeanor domestic violence charge can lead to probation or up to one in jail. Conversely, a felony conviction can earn you more than a year of imprisonment and a criminal record, impairing your rights and opportunities. You may engage a criminal defense attorney to help change a felony charge to a misdemeanor. 

Every jurisdiction has its unique laws on domestic violence. For instance, Connecticut has domestic violence or family violence laws. 

The laws define what domestic violence entails and how to handle it legally. They describe a victim's rights and how to tame the defendant from further assaulting them. 

Misdemeanor Punishment for a Domestic Violence Conviction

The penalty for most misdemeanors is a maximum of a year in jail. However, the sentence can be much shorter for domestic violence. For instance, if mitigating factors exist, a judge may sentence a first-time offender to 30 to 60 days in jail. 

The three factors that can lessen your jail time in a domestic violence conviction include:

  • Remorsefulness or readiness to seek assistance 
  • Your alleged victim also engaged in violence
  • Lack of previous criminal convictions

Some domestic battery convictions can lead to probation rather than jail time, depending on the particular context and the defendant’s willingness to abide by the probation terms. Also, criminal defense attorneys often try to negotiate a plea deal for their clients, which may lead to lesser charges, dropping of associated charges, and probation instead of jail time. 

If your attorney succeeds in securing probation instead of a jail sentence for you, you may need to undergo anger management or domestic battery classes. “You must not breach your probation terms if you do not want stiffer penalties,” says criminal defense attorney Mark Sherman

Punishment Duration for Felony Domestic Violence

As stated earlier, felony charges are often more severe than misdemeanors. You will spend a minimum of one year in a state prison for a felony domestic violence conviction. Depending on the peculiarities of your case, your prison sentence for felony domestic violence may be up to 10 years or more. 

Numerous factors influence the jail duration of an assault. The factors include if the incident involves the adoption of a firearm, kidnapping, sexual assault, severe bodily harm, breach of a restraining order, running away from the police, or resisting arrest. Others include bodily injuries to kids, a prior conviction for domestic battery, and other criminal charges. 

In some states, plaintiffs can charge a defendant with felony domestic violence if the violence resulted in severe injuries. The felony criminal degree charged determines the sentence duration. It is essential to add that several criminal laws have degrees. The first degree bears the most severe punishments.

Will You Spend the Night in Jail After Domestic Violence?

Typically, domestic violence suspects often spend at least one night in jail. Several jurisdictions have a compulsory arrest policy for domestic battery. If there is probable cause (if law enforcement agents believe domestic violence happened), their state's laws may mandate them to arrest the suspected criminals. 

Before they can release you from custody, you may have to wait until a bail hearing or arraignment. 

Being in jail does not guarantee the alleged victim's readiness to press charges against you. However, the prosecutor can still charge you in court even if the alleged victim is unwilling or uncooperative. The prosecutors can recommend the maximum penalty against you. 

Speak with a local criminal defense attorney quickly if the police have arrested or are investigating you for domestic violence charges. 

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